From Morocco to Turkey and beyond, the hammam treatment is one of the most popular picks on a spa menu – and for good reason. Used for hundreds of years to deeply cleanse skin and boost blood circulation whilst promoting healing and hydration, it’s a sure-fire way to rid your body of dead, dull skin and restore your natural gorgeous glow from top to toe. Savoir Flair scoured Dubai to uncover the top hammam treatments in town. Scroll through to see what five scrubbed-and-buffed editors had to say about their experiences.
Anjana Spa, Rixos The Palm
Reviewed by Frankie Rozwadowska
For a traditional Turkish hammam, look no further than Anjana Spa at Rixos The Palm. As soon as I arrived, I was instantly transported to the heart of Istanbul as everything from the décor to the mosaic lanterns and calming lute music has been designed to create an authentic Turkish experience – hugely helped by the tray of Turkish delight and mint tea I was served, of course. But moreish nibbles and beautiful interiors aside, the star of the show has to be the stunning hammam room. A large, steam marble chamber complete with ornately detailed mosaics and designs, it’s seriously Sultan-worthy.
The hammam experience here is as Turkish as they come. I was instructed to lie down on the huge heated marble slab in the center, where I was washed with jugs of hot water drawn from the basins located around the room. After a good rinse, my therapist used a “kese” mitt to scrub away the dead and dull skin, followed by a bubbling foam bag that shampooed my body from top to toe, leaving me seriously squeaky clean. I was then treated to a blissful head massage and scalp cleanse before being whisked off to a beautiful hammam-style relaxation room.
Surrounded by marble walls and floors, traditional artwork, and lounge-style seating, I managed to rehydrate and sneak in a few cheeky minutes of shut-eye here before my full-body massage. This took place in a sumptuous spa suite of my very own, and provided the perfect end to a heavenly hammam experience. Using natural oils to replenish and rehydrate my skin after the thorough scrub and cleanse, Anjana Spa left me feeling like a new person, both inside and out – and full of Turkish delight, but no complaints there.
AED 450/SAR 459 for 40 minutes
(+971) 4 457 5415
Talise Ottoman Spa, Jumeirah Zabeel Saray
Reviewed by Haleh Nia
What began as an editorial review for this very article has now developed into a full-fledged monthly obsession. As soon I was tasked with experiencing the ‘Traditional Turkish Hammam’ at the Talise Ottoman Spa in Jumeirah Zabeel Saray, I knew I would be in for a real treat – the spa does have a legendary status as the best in the region, after all. In fact, rumor has it that groups of women travel down to Dubai from neighboring countries such as Kuwait and Saudi Arabia simply for spa weekends here, never once leaving the hotel.
My first foray into the spa was a sensory experience for the mind, body, and soul. In my line of work, I’ve been very fortunate to visit some of the best spas in the world, but Zabeel Saray’s is the most beautiful, bar none. With its grand chandeliers and mesmerizing murals, the space transports you to ancient Turkey – you’ll be able to take in the beauty of the majestic marble ceilings as you’re experiencing the hammam.
As for the treatment itself? It’s the most squeaky clean you’ll ever be in your life. You’ll feel ten pounds lighter as you walk out, as the therapist has buffed layers and layers of skin off your body. The black-clay mask leaves your face blemish-free and smooth for days. And that shampoo and conditioner treatment towards the finish? It’s almost therapeutic. You’ll leave feeling like your soul has been cleansed, too.
AED 520/SAR 531 for 45 minutes
(+971) 4 453 0456
One & Only Spa, One & Only Royal Mirage
Reviewed by Shannon-Paris Cross
The One & Only Royal Mirage takes R&R very seriously, so it’s no surprise that the spa here is renowned for being one of the grandest in Dubai. Most noteworthy, however, is the ‘Royal Hammam’ package. Set amongst the calming architecture of enticing arches, intricate domes, and beautiful mosaics, the spa residence alone demands a total sense of zen before you’ve even begun to be pampered. The only sound is running water, which trickles over buckets and fountains into every corner and, for me, this is one of the treatment’s most calming aspects. Alongside the heated marble slab I lay on, scattered rose petals and lit candles created the perfect setting.
The sequence of the hammam – like the products used – is very traditional, so I was instantly hit with the aroma of rose upon entering the room. This constantly circulated around the high-ceilinged room, bouncing off the steamy marble. The treatment begins with an expert tellak (commonly known as masseuse) applying Moroccan black soap all over the body for a deep cleanse. Next came the steam, which allowed for 20 minutes of pore-opening and detoxing in a private room, followed by an intense full-body scrub to remove any dead skin obtained from months spent in the Dubai sun.
To finish, more beautifully scented rosewater was used to wash away impurities before a ten-minute gentle massage. After the treatment, I was led to a room with reclining chairs, where refreshments were served, and I was able to relax and recharge for as long as I wished. Be warned: this part is a little risky because falling into a serene sleep is highly likely.
AED 450/SAR 460 for 50 minutes
(+971) 4 315 2140
The SPA, Palazzo Versace Dubai
Reviewed by Noor Tehini Shuhaiber
Before your mind goes to loud prints and gold gilding at the sound of the name “Versace”, let me stop you right there because the spa at the recently opened Palazzo Versace is the polar opposite of that. With light-gray paneled walls, marble counters, floors made of Granito Nero Assoluto, gray degradé mosaics, and white birchwood walls – all accented by delicate mother-of-pearl details – the space is the height of sophistication.
Alongside seven treatment rooms, a private Jacuzzi suite, and a salon, The SPA boasts two hammams, which is where my relaxation journey started. The format of the ‘Ceremonial Hammam’ followed traditional Moroccan rituals, which worked perfectly for me as I’m quite the purist when it comes to treatments. The therapist started by applying black soap all over my body before sending me into a gorgeous mosaic-tiled steam room.
After that, I lay on a stone counter in a pleasantly dark room as she scrubbed the past two months of traveling and desert shoot locations away. Finally, I was treated to a beyond-incredible scalp massage and hair-washing ritual. Once the hammam part of the treatment was done, I was escorted into a private treatment room for a ‘Ceremonial Massage’. The whole experience lasts two hours, after which I spent a bit more time enjoying the spa’s many facilities. All in all, this was the perfect way to spend a Saturday morning in Dubai.
AED 750/SAR 766 for 120 minutes
Saray Spa, JW Marriott Marquis Hotel Dubai
Reviewed by Samia Qaiyum
Latticework pillars, plush rugs, atmospheric lighting, soothing water features, intricately carved candles, and Arabesque room dividers – everything about the luxurious Saray Spa is rooted in local heritage. The health and wellness haven draws inspiration from the caravanserais located along the silk trade routes of yesteryear, offering treatments infused with ancient healing techniques and natural, locally sourced ingredients. Of the 15 treatment rooms onsite, two are private hammam rooms with heated marble tables, and it’s in one of these that I spent a blissful 105 minutes for the ‘Dead Sea Hammam’ package.
After being thoroughly lathered up with an olive oil-based soap, I was left to spend a solid 15 minutes in the adjacent steam room in order to really let my pores open up. Even in that somewhat slippery state, I managed to relax just in time for the pièce de résistance of the entire treatment: the full-body exfoliation. The scrubbing prowess of both the petite therapist and the seemingly everyday loofah are sure to surprise you. And the proof is in the proverbial pudding – I actually saw dirt and dead skin being sloughed off my body. The sight wasn’t a visually appealing one, but I still found myself staring in fascination as she carried on.
Next, I was coated from top to toe in a thick layer of Dead Sea mud infused with therapeutic herbs. It felt tingly as first, so take it from me and don’t shave for a good 48 hours before your treatment. The mud was left on for about 20 minutes before being washed off, paving the way for a full-body massage that was the perfect length for a more restless spa-goer. Lavender oil felt like the obvious choice as I was looking to end a relaxing treatment on an even more relaxing note. And it obliged.
AED 860/SAR 878 for 105 minutes
(+971) 4 414 6754
Iridium Spa, The St. Regis Dubai
Reviewed by Frankie Rozwadowska
Within seconds of sinking into a sumptuous armchair in the beautiful French-style beauty boudoir that is the Iridium Spa relaxation area, you’ll never want to leave. Since the first Iridium Room opened in 1938 in the St. Regis New York, the luxury hotel chain has strived to create the same distinctive elegance and timeless charm throughout its spas, and Dubai’s offering does not disappoint – especially when it comes to the hammam experience.
Located just off the main female spa area is a small and intimate hammam chamber, perfectly private and cozy for one. The treatment began with me being rinsed with water, before my therapist applied black soap all over my skin to prepare it for a deeper exfoliation. Not only does the soap smell beautiful thanks to the soothing eucalyptus it contains, but it’s also made with black olives that are super rich in vitamin E and nourish skin deep down. This was left on my skin whilst I was whisked off to my own private steam room, which helped open up my pores so the soap could work its perfecting and moisturizing magic.
After my steamy sesh, I was taken back to my hammam room and showered down before the exfoliating kessa glove was used to gently slough away dead, dull skin. The nourishing Ghassoul body mask was applied next. A mineral rich clay that’s bursting with nutrients such as magnesium, iron, potassium, and silica, it absorbs excess oil and impurities whilst geranium extracts boost circulation and radiance. You will literally be left glowing after this.
Whilst the mask worked its magic, my hair was gently washed and my scalp massaged, and I was able to enjoy being serene and still before I was rinsed with buckets of water. To finish, omega- and antioxidant-rich argan oil was drizzled on my hair and body to leave me silky smooth and oh-so-soft. Sublime.
AED 580/SAR 592 for 60 minutes
(+971) 4 435 5500